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Research Papers on Critical Literacy

How do you start a Critical Literacy research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

Critical literacy is a teaching method that originated in Marxist ideology, though an Australian variant eliminating much of that influence has also emerged. The basic aim of teaching within this paradigm is:

  • To enable students to interpret not just the meaning of written words
  • Understand the “underlying messages” implied in a text.
  • Students are taught to question texts from a critical perspective
  • Students must also seek evidence that the author is perpetuating social inequalities and contributing to oppression.
Critical Literacy

Critical Literacy Controversy

The use of this method has inspired considerable controversy. Opponents see it as instilling a particular ideological dogma in students even from the beginning of their education. Students are encouraged to find signs of social injustice and coercion in nearly every text, leading them to view the world around them as rife with oppression whether that is the case or not. Further criticism points out that the focus on “questioning” every text seems to take priority over understanding. Teachers instruct students to find ethical flaws in readings before the students are even skilled enough to interpret the direct meaning. The concern is that this kind of instruction results in a lower level of literacy by actually celebrating biased reading over genuine understanding.

Teaching for Critical Literacy

Teaching for critical literacy originated from educators who appreciate the basic idea of teaching students to look for the assumptions and messages behind a text, but reject forcing a dogmatic framework for that interpretation. They recognize a wide range of backgrounds for texts, not all of which are rooted in injustice and oppression. This ethically neutral approach is also more focused on unbiased understanding, as teachers do not insist that literacy teachings and readings be interpreted in accordance with a particular moral view. Within the academic field of education, the Australian approach is seen as a less problematic take on critical literacy.

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